A fast-growing stalagmite from the central California coast provides a high-resolution record of climatic changes synchronous with global perturbations resulting from the catastrophic drainage of proglacial Lake Agassiz at ca. 8.2 ka. High frequency, large amplitude variations in carbon isotopes during the 8.2 ka event, coupled with pulsed increases in phosphorus concentrations, indicate more frequent or intense winter storms on the California coast. Decreased magnesium-calcium ratios point toward a sustained increase in effective moisture during the event, however the magnitude of change in Mg/Ca suggests this event was not as pronounced on the western North American coast as anomalies seen in the high northern latitudes and monsoon-influenced areas. Nevertheless, shifts in the White Moon Cave record that are synchronous within age uncertainties with cooling of Greenland, and changes in global monsoon systems, suggest rapid changes in atmospheric circulation occurred in response to freshwater input and associated cooling in the North Atlantic region. Our record is consistent with intensification of the Pacific winter storm track in response to North Atlantic freshwater forcing, a mechanism suggested by simulations of the last deglaciation, and indicates this intensification led to increases in precipitation and infiltration along the California coast during the Holocene.
Oster, J.L., Sharp, W.D., Covey, A.K., Gibson, J., Rogers, B., Mix, H.T. (2017). Climate response to the 8.2 ka event in coastal California. Nature Scientific Reports. http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-04215-5